Natalie Portman says she fulfilled a long-standing ambition by shaving her head for the sci-fi thriller "V for Vendetta."
"I was really excited to get to shave my head — it's something I'd wanted to do for a while and now I had a good excuse," Portman told reporters at the Berlin International Film Festival. "It was nice to shed that level of vanity for a girl."
However, "I wasn't used to being looked at so much," the 24-year-old actress said. "Walking down the street, I can usually blend in, and people really stare at you when you're a girl with a shaved head."
The film, directed by James McTeigue, screened outside the competition Monday. Written by Andy and Larry Wachowski, "V for Vendetta" is set in a future Britain run by a fascist dictatorship.
Portman's character, Evey, is saved from an attack by a masked anarchist known only as V, played by Hugo Weaving, and becomes a comrade in his struggle against the regime.
Weaving, who played Agent Smith in the "Matrix" films, faced the challenge of playing V from behind a mask.
"It was hot and I felt there was a barrier between myself and other actors," he said.
"When you don't see an actor's face, it forces you to listen to what he has to say," Weaving, 45, added. "What was important to me was that the ideas came through."
Portman received an Oscar nomination for her role in 2004's "Closer."